If you intend to study in Canada, you will likely need a Study Permit. Before you can apply for a study permit, you must have been accepted at a recognized school, university or college in Canada.*
Criteria that must be met to qualify for a study permit:
You must have an original letter of acceptance from the Canadian educational institution you will be attending.
You must prove that you have sufficient funds to pay for the tuition, living expenses and return transportation. You will have to demonstrate your financial sufficiency for only the first year of studies, regardless of the duration of the program. For example, if you enter a four-year program with an annual tuition fee of CDN $15,000, you must demonstrate the availability of CDN $15,000 only, plus some funds to cover your living expenses and return transportation.
You must have no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada.
You must undergo a medial examination, if the duration of your studies exceeds 6 months.
You must satisfy the immigration officer that you will leave Canada upon completion of your studies.
Your application for a study permit must be submitted to a Canadian Visa Office responsible for the country or region where you live.
You do not require a study permit when:
The duration of your program of studies is 6 months or less. However, if you are not from a visa-exempt country, you will still require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada.
You are a family member or a staff member of foreign accredited representatives/ diplomats.
You are a member of a foreign armed force under the Visiting Forces Act.
Work on and off campus
Full-time international students who are enrolled at designated institutions in certain programs are allowed to work part time off campus and full time during scheduled school breaks without a work permit.
Work after graduation
If you want to work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). The PGWPP allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
The work permit cannot be valid for longer than the study program, and its maximum validity does not exceed three years. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.
To be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you must have studied full time in Canada and have completed and passed a program of study of at least eight months. You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving a formal written confirmation from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program. You must also have a valid study permit at the time of your application. If you are an exchange student or have completed a distance learning program, you are ineligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
An application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit can be submitted either to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta; or electronically on CIC web-site.
* If you are looking for more information about studying in Canada, the following links can be helpful:
www.cmec.ca - Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.
www.studycanada.ca - Study in Canada. The Canadian Education Centre Network web-site.
www.cicic.ca - A Guide for Foreign Students.